Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro receives nomination for upcoming national elections; He seeks a third term

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday became his party's official candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in July, which will allow him to enter a third consecutive term with no real competition in sight.

It is not unusual for Venezuela for elections to have been plagued by controversy since Venezuelan authorities disqualified Maduro's main opponent, Maria Corina Machado – who swept the opposition coalition primaries with more than 90% of the vote – from holding public office for 15 years.

FILE – In this Jan. 22, 2021, file photo, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a ceremony marking the start of the judicial year at the Supreme Court in Caracas, Venezuela.

AP Photo/Mathias Delacroix, file)

Maduro accepted the nomination as the ruling United Socialist Party's candidate in the presidential elections to be held on July 28 during a party rally in Caracas, saying he had “the support of the people.” According to the party, its decision received the support of more than four million members who chose their candidate last week.

“No man can be alone,” Maduro said. “I am here for the people.” He added, “Here the candidate is not Maduro. Here the candidate is the people.”

Maduro, President Hugo Chavez's hand-picked successor, rose to power in March 2013 after the death of Chavez, whose homely charm won him the affection and votes of millions. Winning another term would leave Maduro as head of the Venezuelan government until 2031.

Under his ruleVenezuela has descended into a deep economic crisis, only exacerbated by US sanctions. The crisis has left millions of people homeless To immigrate from South Americawith many of them now heading towards the United States.

The US government rolled back some sanctions imposed on Venezuela's oil, gas and mining sectors last year after Maduro agreed with the opposition to work toward creating electoral conditions that would allow for a level playing field.

But the Biden administration drew some relief after Venezuela's Supreme Court upheld the ban on Machado. It also threatened to withdraw additional aid if Maduro's government continues to defy the agreement.

The deadline for registering candidates is March 25, but Machado has so far confirmed that she will continue “until the end,” although she has not explained how she will circumvent the ban on holding office.

In recent days, the opposition coalition has questioned the electoral process and called for “respect for the law.”

Other opposition figures were also excluded, such as Henrique Capriles, a two-time presidential candidate, who refused to participate before the primaries.

Capriles is among a growing number of voices of government opponents and foreign leaders urging Machado to step down to allow voters to rally behind an alternative. He urged her to “feel real” this week as Machado moves forward.

“They think this is just another election, another election battle where they can beat us or cheat us, and that we will stay quiet and keep our heads down. They don't understand anything,” Machado told his supporters. Several marches.

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